My guess is you think of Creativity as art and design, technical innovation, or perhaps the latest wacky ideas? But that’s not all. Today’s business world is very different to how it was a couple of decades ago. Change happens much faster, and the status quo is much more fluid. Result? We can’t rely on well trodden paths and processes any more when we need to solve problems.
When we hit an issue, it’s likely there are no precedents to refer to, no process to follow.
We’re all creatives now.
That’s where good facilitation comes in, and that’s why these skills are increasingly in demand. Because facilitation is the key that unlocks our minds and encourages us to think beyond past experience – creatively.
Making decisions used to be fairly straightforward. Things that worked last time could be reasonably relied upon to work again. But that doesn’t work in a world of innovation, with a transient changing environment. Decision making and problem solving needs a different approach, to make us productive and avoid reaching an impasse, where progress gets stuck and feels difficult to move forward.
Problem solving requires both a clear mind and a clear focus, but we need them in that precise order. Try too hard to focus on the solution to a problem, and it eludes us – jumping straight to solution mode doesn’t work where we may have insufficient understanding of the problem itself. Working in a group allows us to combine our experience and our understanding, but individual thought processes don’t necessarily combine productively – this is where a good facilitator helps.
The facilitator adds the tools and the process that join up the dots to allow a solution to be achieved. A good facilitator knows the best tools and the process to use to achieve the objective with the specific skills and mindsets in the room. So the group becomes free to focus their minds completely on the creative thinking that leads to problem solving and getting the job done.
Have a look at this time-lapse video, where the facilitator is using a variety of techniques to help a group draw out and then combine their thinking. First they identify symptoms, and causes. The next step in the process is to link these and sort them into themes. This in turn leads to carefully prioritised actions to deal with the problem.
Each member of the group has been guided through the process, but in a way that allows their expertise to be powerfully combined.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”